The goal of keeping Louisiana residents safe from future storms and ongoing coastal erosion is a noble one.
And it has a great deal of buy-in from the local folks who will be most affected by the outcome of the process.
LA SAFE, short for Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments, is looking to do just that for the six parishes, including Terrebonne and Lafourche, where its efforts are focused.
It has gone about it by holding community-based meetings and soliciting the input and guidance of the local people. And, some say, it has been successful so far.
“We started with a really big base of ideas and thoughts that came from the community,” said Regina Verdin, of Raceland, who has participated in the meeting process. “Narrowing it down to just a few has been a pretty amazing process. ... People feel that the whole thought of coastal restoration is so big, like how can one person make a difference? This has been really good evidence that the community can really make a difference.”
That is not just a reassuring thought as we contemplate an increasingly difficult future for coastal Louisiana. It is also an excellent sign that local cooperation and participation have been integral parts of the process.
The organizers for LA SAFE will now winnow the list of projects that have been suggested by the public to six, which will be presented during the next phase of the process.
The public will then have a valuable chance to collectively rank those projects.
The entire six-parish area will split up around $36 million that has been allocated to LA SAFE.
South Louisiana faces tremendous challenges as our coast falls into the sea, the land sinks beneath us and the water continues to rise.
Part of our path lies in trying to prevent as much damage and disruption as we can by trying to protect the land we have left and even build some as we can.
But part of the path must lie in adaptation to the certain changes that are coming.
Under even best-case-scenario predictions of coastal change in the coming decades, the picture is bleak. And those who live closest to the water will face mounting difficulties for themselves and their children.
Anything we can do to protect ourselves from the changes is a welcome development.
Great job to those who have participated so far, and get involved if you haven’t already. More information is available at lasafe.la.gov.
Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.